To have true wealth you probably think you need millions in the bank. It would be nice wouldn’t it!? The big house, several expensive cars in the driveway, and a walk-in wardrobe bursting with designer clothes – that you probably only wear once before hitting the high-end boutiques again.
You would take a few holidays abroad a year, all at exclusive five-star resorts of course, and the kids would be in private school, having the ‘best’ of everything. Yep, life is good when you’re ‘rich’.
And to have this wealth would probably make you feel like a ‘better’ person, right? It means you’re successful, with an enviable life that most people can only dream of.
We’re told time and time again that money can’t buy you happiness, but better to cry on a private yacht than on a bicycle – or however the saying goes.
When we think of ‘wealth’, the overwhelming majority of us would probably admit that our mind instantly goes to ‘money’, but is that really true wealth? Even having all the money in the world doesn’t guarantee us a contented life.
There are plenty of people in the world with full bank accounts that still live with some sort of emptiness. Money doesn’t make us immune to illness and disease, it doesn’t guarantee that you will have healthy, happy children, family members or friends, or protect you from mental illness, from disasters happening, from being the victim of crime, from addiction, from death.
Sure, money can certainly afford us the luxury of being able to pay privately for health treatments, for security systems, and for ways to distract ourselves from things that are going on in the world.
However, money and wealth are not the same thing.
A lot of people go on about the importance of having an abundance of money, but not many understand the meaning of ‘true wealth’.
It seems that people who are seeking money can never have enough; there are people in the world who have more money than can ever be spent in their lifetime, and yet they’ll still spend their lives trying to accumulate more.
Whereas those who have true wealth will always have enough.
We should think of wealth as a state of mind; something we experience rather than something that we possess. That’s not to say that money isn’t important, of course – we can be free of a lot of anxiety in our lives if we have enough money to keep a roof over our heads, put food on the table, clothes on our backs, and be able to cover the other basic essentials, and if you think about it ‘wealth’ has nothing to do with how much money we have.
True wealth is about finding ways to create more meaning in our lives through deeper relationships with our loved ones and achieving personal growth.
It’s about living in the now and appreciating all the small pleasures in life and every precious moment. Your kids’ first steps are just as special if they take place in a one-bedroom flat or in a mansion.
You can enjoy the company of your friends just as much in your local greasy spoon as you can in a michelin-starred restaurant….and if you lose someone you love, your heart will break the same sat next to an NHS hospital bed as it would in the suite of a private hospital.
My point is, the things that really matter in life; our relationships with the people we love, our health, our ambition and drive are things that aren’t affected by monetary wealth.
To have true wealth in life we need to appreciate all aspects of it, being self-aware and living with purpose – it’s an inner condition of being, not of having.
It’s about being doing then having not having doing and being happy.
Our true wealth assets are our family and friends, our talents, our life experiences, our health and self-esteem, and the ability to care for and help others.
It also includes the ability to earn money – not everyone is so fortunate, and it’s a weird quirk of the world that society and the media tells us that as much as those who have a lot of money are ‘out of touch’ those who don’t are ‘looking for a handout’ or ‘spongers’, meaning that all too often we end up harshly judging both ends of the spectrum.
For every millionaire who is selfish and ‘tight’ there are five more who give endlessly to charity and are dedicated to working in the community…..for every person who is ‘milking the system’ (and there are far fewer of those than the media would have you believe), there are many, many more who are struggling to work because of physical or mental health issues, lack of childcare or support, poor education or past trauma.
From a very early age we separate those who are ‘rich’ from those that are ‘poor’ – the kid at school who wears shoes that are too small and patched-up trousers, versus the kid who has the latest trainers and goes to Disney World every summer.
Possessions and income don’t tell us who is wealthy enough to come from a loving and supportive family, who has good friendships, who is fighting illness….all the things you simply can’t buy.
And the same applies to when we enter adulthood; unhappy marriages, abuse, terminal illness, depression and suicide are things that can affect anyone – true contentment and joy has no price tag – and to assume that because someone has money that life is picture-perfect and they are forever unaffected by those things is a huge mistake.
As human beings we have a tendency to often focus on what we don’t have rather than what we do have, and to live in the now and show gratitude for all the abundance in our lives are the things that will bring us true wealth.
Someone who is only ever chasing money will end up in a ‘poverty state of mind’, with their whole identity being tied to what they have rather than who they are.
It’s possible to own many possessions but still be poor because there is no contentment or happiness in your own life, after all, you can only sleep under one roof at a time, drive one car, wear one pair of designer shoes….
If you have no one to love, no one to laugh with or experience life with, no one to confide in or talk to when times are tough, no one to turn to when the worst happens, all of the ‘things’ and money you have accumulated, to put it bluntly, aren’t worth shit.
True wealth is intrinsically tied to our own self-worth and to who we are as people today.
Do you treat others with kindness and compassion?
Do you try your best in everything you do?
Do you take care of your body and your mind?
Do you wake up each day with a sense of purpose?
Do you Encourage, support and help others when you can?
And, above all, do you feel thankful for your life and the people in it?
If so, you are the wealthiest person in the world.